I was chatting to a delegate on a training course I was running the other week. We were talking about balancing the needs of both family and work. When I shared that I’d be taking 2 months off over the summer they remarked ‘you’re so lucky’. I agreed. I am lucky. I have a very understanding boss (me! I’m self-employed).
But the more I got to thinking about it the more I realised that it wasn’t just ‘luck’ that allowed me to take the summer off to be with my boys.
Take the fact that, as my own boss, I was hardly likely to veto my request to take 8 weeks off over the summer out of the equation and you’re left with the facts:
- I’ve had to budget during the year to be able to take this time off. I won’t get paid for the weeks I’m not working, and I don’t get holiday pay
- I’ve had to say ‘no’ to lots of work during those 8 weeks. As a freelancer that can be scary. What will my clients think? Will they go elsewhere?
- I’ve had to think about how to manage my work commitments. For my own clients that has meant managing expectations and being clear on deliverables
- When it comes to Mumager its just Alex and I, so I’ve had to discuss with Alex how we will keep things running over the summer.
Focus on what is in your control
In short, I’ve looked at what’s in my control and I’ve put the wheels in motion to make things happen. A recent study showed that 86% of Brits admit to believing in ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. This isn’t always a good thing as it can mean we are relying on external factors. When something doesn’t happen it’s easy to attribute it to ‘bad luck’ or someone else’s fault. By looking at what is within our control we find that we can make things happen.
So, if you want to use parental leave to take some time off during school holidays – ask for it (for tips check this out she who dares wins) Can you start budgeting now to make it a reality? You may have left it too late for summer 2017, but what about next year?
If you want to go for that promotion at work – find out what we need to do to make it happen. What experience do you need? Ask for specific feedback so that you’re clear on what you need to stop/start/continue doing. How can you raise your profile and enhance your personal brand.
If you feel like you’ve been unfairly treated since you came back to work from maternity leave – have a conversation with your boss or HR.
Look to the future and decide how you want to move forward and create your own luck!